Polaris Celebrates 50th Anniversary With Jam-Packed 'Way Out Weekend'; Historic Party Rocks the Minnesota State FairgroundsMEDINA, Minn.--July 29, 2004--Polaris and more than 25,000 riding enthusiasts and music fans turned the Minnesota State Fairgrounds into "Polarisville" during "The Way Out Weekend" celebration of the Polaris 50th anniversary on July 23 and 24.
The celebration included tributes to the company's past through the introduction of the Polaris Hall of Fame and a view of the future of powersports through the introduction of new 2005 all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), Victory Motorcycles, RANGER utility vehicles, personal watercraft and sport boats.
Roseau, Minnesota, where Polaris was incorporated in 1954, was probably smaller at that time than the 83-plus acres of fairgrounds on which Polaris presented the 50th anniversary cavalcade of displays, activities and musical performances by five national headliners.
On Friday, July 23, the company's 3,800 employees and nearly 3,000 Polaris dealers and international distributors enjoyed a party at the fairgrounds. On Saturday, July 24, over 25,000 enthusiasts - including more than 700 Victory motorcycle riders who made a thunderous entry to the grounds - enjoyed a day of fun, sun, riding, music and good times.
In 50 years, Polaris has grown from a humble, small-town metal shop into a leading international powersports manufacturer with annual sales of more than $1.6 billion.
Celebrants Came from Around the World
Riders and business partners from around the world joined the fairgrounds celebration, as did celebrities such as stock car racing legends Richard and Kyle Petty and rock music hall-of-famer John Fogerty. The former front man of Credence Clearwater Revival headlined a day of concerts by the likes of blues guitar wizard Jonny Lang, country star Clint Black and classic rockers .38 Special.
Party goers not only saw the new Polaris and Victory products on display, they got to ride ATVs and RANGERs on a variety of demo tracks that included bumps, bridges, tunnels and even the chance to drive a RANGER over a row of crushed cars.
The Polaris Thrill Team entertained overflow audiences by riding Polaris snowmobiles and ATVs through the 27-foot-high 360-degree loop. Young riders made the exciting trip through the loop on a 2004 Predator 500 ATV and 2005 900 Fusion snowmobile. Roger Dick, a member of the original, late-'60s Thrill Team, ran through the loop on a 1970 Charger - a unique way for him to celebrate his 60th birthday on July 24.
High-flying 19-year-old Ryan Britt also thrilled large crowds as he launched his 900 Fusion snowmobile off a ramp and performed daring mid-air moves.
'Vintage Iron' & the Polaris Hall of Fame
A collection of vintage Polaris vehicles featured the second Polaris snowmobile ever built, which dates back to 1956, when the company was still focused on manufacturing farm equipment. Visitors to the "Polaris Experience Center" vintage display got autographs from original Polaris partners Edgar Hetteen and David Johnson, and from Mike Hetteen, son of the third original partner, the late Allan Hetteen.
On Friday, July 23, the three original partners were inducted into the new Polaris Hall of Fame. Other charter inductees included longtime Polaris employees Orlen Johnson and Raynold Monsrud; retired company executive W. Hall Wendel, Jr.; Polaris dealers Mies Outland of Watkins, Minnesota, and Headingley Sport Shop of Headingley, Manitoba, Canada; and longtime supplier partners Fuji Heavy Industries (an engine supplier since the late-1960s) and TEAM Industries (supplier of numerous precision-machined components).
Also inducted were the people Polaris President and CEO Tom Tiller called "the fuel for this company," all Polaris riders, whose passion for experiencing "The Way Out" drives the company's quest to be the best powersports company in the world.
More than 700 Victory motorcycle riders from across North America rode to Minnesota to take part in the Polaris 50th anniversary celebration. No riders covered more miles than three Canadian Polaris and Victory dealers, Ed MacDonald, Don Galloway and Lorry Wenberg, who rode their Victory motorcycles through 50 states in 50 days on "The Long Way Out Tour" before arriving at the fairgrounds.
Information about the complete line of Polaris products, apparel and vehicle accessories is available from authorized Polaris dealers or from the Polaris homepage at polarisindustries.com.
Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, Victory motorcycles and the Polaris RANGER for recreational and utility use.
With annual 2003 sales of over $1.6 billion, Polaris is a recognized leader in the snowmobile industry; one of the largest manufacturers of all terrain vehicles (ATVs) in the world; and a leading manufacturer of personal watercraft. Victory motorcycles was established in 1998, and represents the first all-new American-made motorcycle in nearly 60 years. Victory is rapidly making impressive in-roads into the motorcycle cruiser marketplace. Polaris also enhances the riding experience with a complete line of Pure Polaris apparel, accessories and parts, available at Polaris dealerships.
Polaris Industries Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange and Pacific Stock Exchange under the symbol "PII," and the company is included in the S&P Small-Cap 600 stock price index.